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Crunch Time In PA Liquor Fight

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(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG (CBS) — With the governor demanding action before lawmakers’ scheduled summer break at the end of the month, a Bucks County state senator will make the next move in the high stakes battle over privatization of liquor sales in Pennsylvania.

Republican Chuck McIlhinney, chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, who held the last of three hearings on liquor reform last week, says he expects to propose his own version of a liquor bill next week.

McIlhinney says his bill will address issues like the sale of wine and beer in grocery stores, as well as the closure of state stores.

“My proposal would reduce state stores. I couldn’t tell you exactly how or how many at this point,” He said.

But the House has already passed its own liquor bill, sponsored by the majority leader, whose spokesman Stephen Miskin says those details will be important.

He says any Senate bill will have to have a formula for shutting down state stores.

“In order to get to the governor’s desk, a privatization plan needs to be exactly that, a privatization plan,” Miskin said.

Miskin also said any Senate bill will have to divest the state of wholesale liquor operations, something about which McIlhinney has expressed concern.

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